Mark Jones has been pondering through the early stages of this week whether he pulled the right rein on Sunday, or not
The Mark Jones Racing principal took two of his leading pacers, Stylish Memphis and Plutonium Lady to Oamaru for the Hannon Memorial thinking he’d at least get a good run under the belt as the prepare for upcoming features over the coming months. But as he trekked back to Canterbury on Sunday night, Jones was left to wonder whether a good strong workout at home might have been beneficial for the pair instead.
“I may as well of left them at home and just worked them there,” he said.
“It was just a walk around and a run home and it’s making these lead up races a bit of a joke, Stylish Memphis went quicker in her two trials before Sunday.”
While not finger-pointing at any one thing in particular, the former World Champion driver does believe the sedate nature of driving in New Zealand is the main culprit behind the pedestrian-like state of many races in this country.
Sunday’s Hannon, which was won by Henry Hubert, was the slowest edition of the race at 3:20.3, since Bailey’s Dream won the race in the wet back in 2007 – and the Maurice Holmes Vase at the start of the month was even slower.
“It shows the state of our free-for-all horses, but also the attitude of Kiwis compared to say the Australians when it comes to the way we drive.”– Mark Jones
“I think probably the biggest concern to come out of the race though is that it seems like you have to have stablemates in these races, it’s been a talking point for years but it’s only going to get worse with the big stables getting even bigger.”
Both Stylish Memphis and Plutonium Lady found themselves back on the fence during the running and were unable to pick up in the final stages of the race from their positions at the 600-metre mark when the speed really went on. Both have come through their run well but will this week head back to the races again and take on a $20,000 Filles and Mares race.
“They just need the steady diet of racing, especially if they’re not going to be able to get those really hard runs under their belt like we’d like.”
Also, a cause for frustration on Sunday was the performance, albeit a winning one, of Majestic Lavros.
After finding the front and then the trail in the feature trotting event of the day he appeared to struggle to hold off the late challenge of BD Yasothon, winning by the barest of margins.
“He should have won better than that, I was pretty disappointed in his effort to be fair.
“I know you don’t pass anymore by winning by more, but I thought he was average, and I don’t know what to put it down too either – but we’ll take the win and move on.”
The Dominion Handicap nominated trotter will head to this weekend’s DG Jones Banks Peninsula Trotting Cup where he’s drawn barrier two.